How to Make Canadian Bacon from Pork Loin

How to Make Canadian Bacon

I LOVE Canadian Bacon!  So after a little “How to Make Canadian Bacon” research, I made it myself  from scratch using a pork loin. I didn’t realize how EASY it was and soooo much tastier than store bought.  I’ll never buy Canadian Bacon again, but I will buy pork loins to make my own.

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ll know that I always want to get my supplies and ingredients out and on the counter before I get started.  There are a couple phases to making Canadian Bacon, its not something you can whip up in an hour or two – more like 14 days!  But… it’s easy – I promise!  Please be sure to take a moment to read the entire blog before you get started, to make sure you’re prepared for the time it takes and that you have all ingredients for each step of the process.

How to Make Canadian Bacon

The first step is applying dry cure to your pork loin – to do this you will need the following supplies/ingredients:

Additional Supplies that will be needed later in the process:

To begin, I prefer to trim the fat cap from the loin – this is optional, I’m just a picky eater and I don’t like any fat on my meat – but you can leave on if you don’t mind it.

After fat cap trimmed off loin

Next, you’ll want to rub your entire loin with 1 tbsp. of Morton Tender Quick per pound.  Mine was a 4lb loin, so I used 4 tbsp.  Then, you’ll rub on 2 tbsp. of brown sugar (can use light or dark) per pound – I used 8 tbsp. for my 4lb loin.

Tender Quick

Brown Sugar

Dry cure applied!

Once you’ve applied the dry cure ingredients, put the loin in a large zip lock bag.  I sometimes use two and double bag so I don’t have to worry about any leakage in the refrigerator.  If I have enough room in my fridge, I will use a aluminum disposable pan to lay the loin in – just in case there is any leakage from the zip lock baggie.

The hardest part about this next step is remembering to flip your loin over once a day.  You can calculate how many days to cure:  1 day per 1/4 inch of meat plus 2 days – I let mine cure for 10 days to be safe – you cannot over cure, but you can under cure – so be sure to give your loin enough time.  I like to put a reminder in my calendar on my phone so I don’t forget and a final reminder for the 10th day to move on to the next step.  Be sure to make note of what day you should stop flipping and move on to the next step!

After my 10 days, I moved on to a 30 minute soak in cold water – this is to get off as much of the brine as possible.  You’ll want to rinse the brine off in the sink and then submerge the loin in cold water and put back in the fridge to soak as much remaining brine as possible.  You will not want to skip this step or you will have nothing but a salt log!  You’ll notice at the end of the soak, the water will turn a little yellow – this is the salt/brine coming off the loin.

Once your loin has been rinsed and soaked for 30 minutes in cold water, you can then pat the loin dry with a few paper towels and move on to the rubbing step – sounds like fun, right?

You can improvise on these ingredients if you’d prefer, I chose not to include the coarse black pepper and just used a very light sprinkling of garlic and onion powders.  You can choose not to sprinkle on any seasonings if you’d prefer, or make up your own mixture. I went with the original the first time I made it and made my changes from there.  I found that when I coated/rubbed with the onion and garlic powders, it was a bit too strong for my taste, so I now just lightly sprinkle!

  • 1 tsp per pound garlic powder
  • 1 tsp per pound onion powder
  • 1 tsp per pound coarse black pepper (I omit this by choice)
  • tie up with butchers twine (optional – I prefer a very rounded Canadian Bacon, but this step can be skipped if your not concerned with how it’s shaped)

Once your rub is applied and your loin tied with the twine (optional), you can put the loin on a rack over a pan in the fridge uncovered for 2 days.  I use a cookie cooling rack and put it on top of a cookie sheet – this is to let the loin dry all around and get a nice pellicle (which is a crust or skin), and the cookie sheet can catch any juices that may drip out – there shouldn’t be much if any.

Now we’re in the home stretch!  After the 2 days of drying out in the fridge, your next step is to smoke the loin.  If you don’t have a smoker, you can cook in the oven at the same temperatures indicated below until the loin reaches the internal temperature of 145 degrees.  Below are the times, temps and instructions when using a smoker:

  • Preheat your smoker to 150 degrees.
  • Put loin in for 1 hour with NO CHIPS/NO SMOKE at 150 degrees.
  • Put in your favorite chips after the first hour – we used maple and continued the smoke for the first 2 hours – it’s up to you what wood you choose and how smoky you’d like your Canadian Bacon to be.
  • When the internal temperature of the loin reached 130 degrees, turn smoker temperature up to 175 degrees.
  • Continue to monitor the internal temperature until it reaches 145 degrees.  This could take awhile!  I’ve often turned my temp up to as high as 200 to get there in the last couple hours… but up to you and how much time you have!
  • Once internal temperature of Canadian Bacon reaches 145 degrees, remove from smoker/oven.

Loin going into Smoker – get your thermometer in there and ready for the smoking!

Loin at 130 degrees – time to turn the temp UP!

Loin at 145 degrees – time to take out of smoker/oven!

NOTE:  When learning how to make Canadian Bacon, be prepared for the smoking/cooking to take several hours – I put this one in at 10:30 am and it reached its internal temperature of 145 degrees at 5:30 pm – a total of 7 hours.  Cooking/Smoking times may vary, so be sure to go by the internal temperature of the meat and not by time.

Unfortunately, you can’t cut into your Canadian Bacon just yet, if you do, it will dry it out and won’t be as fantastic as it should be!  Its very important to let it rest on the counter uncovered until the internal temperature gets down to 100 degrees.  At that point, you will want to wrap in plastic wrap and put into the fridge for 2 more days.

Loin at 100 degrees – time to wrap up for the fridge!

All wrapped up, now in the fridge for two days!

I’ll be honest with you – I only left mine in the fridge for 1 day before I sliced into it – two days is what the instructions call for, but I’ve never been able to wait that long!  Now is when you slice it up and enjoy your Canadian Bacon made from scratch!  I eat mine several ways – a slice cold out of the fridge, heated up in a skillet, and I also love to cube it and put it into casseroles!



So now you know How to Make Canadian Bacon from scratch using a pork loin.

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